What’s new

Overview: audiences and the media landscape

As government communicators, we know that the ways in which our audiences access and consume information are changing rapidly, and recent GCS studies of young people, older people and small businesses found:

  • New technologies and a more fragmented media landscape are giving these audiences more control over when and how they access content. As a result, we need to work harder to break through the noise and engage with these groups.
  • There are greater time pressures and competing demands on our audiences than ever before, meaning our communications have to be as relevant and engaging as possible.
  • Societal factors like longer life expectancy, changing family make-up, household structure and shifts in traditional life ‘stage’ now demand more sophisticated segmentations of our audiences.

Our communications need to reflect and keep pace with this revolution, for example:

  • More people in the UK now read news on their PC or personal mobile than in print, while 85% of people get their news from television.
  • YouTube has a greater monthly reach among 15 to 34 years olds than terrestrial or Freeview channels like ITV, Channel 4 or E4. Younger people also listen to less live radio than adults.
  •  Over two-thirds of UK adults now own a Smartphone. Smartphone ownership is in fact now growing most quickly among the over 55s.
  •  Close to nine out of ten UK adults are able to go online anywhere (often via their smartphone), compared to six in ten UK adults in 2005.
  • Nearly three quarters (72%) of internet users now have a social media profile, compared to 22% in 2007. 81% of this audience uses social media at least once a day, up from 30% in 2007.
  • The most marked increase in social media usage over the last eight years has been among 35 to 44 year olds, a 68% increase from 12% in 2007 to 80% today.

To keep pace with the latest trends and ideas the GCS Insight Team has produced a number of insight reports, looking at the latest trends in communication. One is the 7 Trends in Leading-edge Communications report (PDF, 30mb), produced with Ipsos MORI and Google. This highlights several specific communication challenges for us to address in 2015/16:

  1. Integrating our communications to work seamlessly across offline and online channels.
  2. Using the power of storytelling to create an engaging, emotional connection with audiences.
  3. Ensuring our content is relevant, personalised and delivered at the right time to maximise interest.
  4. Creating shareable, ‘snackable’ content to encourage audiences to re-transmit campaign content.
  5. Harnessing the influence of digital influencers, such as online vloggers, to build trust and reach.
  6. Building emotional connections with our audiences to maximise the impact of our campaigns.
  7. Communicating a clear social purpose in our government messaging for audiences to identify with.

Together, we need to be more aware and monitor which audience groups we are all communicating with and ensure that our campaigns collectively deliver as much cut-through, consistency and value as possible.

The GCS Insight Team aims to provide support for priority campaigns, whilst aligning all government activity more consistently by target audience.